Natural Sharpening Stones For Sale

Types of Natural Sharpening Stones For Sale

From my experience in the sharpening and stone cutting industry, many people have no idea that there are many different choices of sharpening stones. For many people, the type of sharpening stone is not a big deal as long as the whetstone serves the purpose. But just like any other industry, we still have the “very selective” individuals who know what they want and why they need it. It usually comes down to what kind of quality you want in a stone, and how you prefer to sharpen.


So, regardless of your category, let me show you the main types of natural sharpening stones for sale, as well as compare them to man made types of stone.

Here at NaturalWhetstoneSharpening.com I craft Jasper sharpening stones that I am mining here in Colorado. I also carry jade that I hunt for in Wyoming as well as import because it has very similar properties to jasper. Natural Sharpening Stones / Natural Whetstones are abrasives that have been created by mother nature.

Whetstones most commonly speaking refers to a sharpening stone you can use dry, or with water, to remove steel and refine the apex of an edge when sharpening. There are many natural sharpening stones from all around the world, with their own unique histories, traditions and places they are quarried. When a stone is found to have good properties for sharpening, the deposit and location of said rock is often a carefully guarded secret. 

The Jasper Whetstones we carry here requires only a splash of water and you can begin to sharpen, unlike most man made stones which require soaking because they are less dense. Jasper happens to be the absolute best whetstone rock local to me here in Colorado and so that is why it has become the number one focus. Jasper is very similar to oil stone whetstones from Arkansas, yet it seems to sharpen very well with water where Arkansas stones are most commonly used with oil. This is an excellent new development in American whetstones.

 

Because jasper is extremely dense, water does not penetrate the stone so it will never be possible to over-soak it causing it to crumble. This is a huge advantage over most man made synthetic whetstones which will loose their binder if over-soaked. Even under regular and proper use, man made whetstones will be consumed within a few years. Jasper and Jade solve this problem because they are harder than steel and do not wear out from use. They also cannot be over soaked as water will not penetrate into them. This saves you the hassle of ever having to flatten your sharpening stone. This also saves you money because where other man made stones wear out and need to be replaced, jasper and jade are heirloom whetstones and come with a lifetime lasting warranty.

 

Jasper and Jade can be sharpened with dry, or wet. You can also experiment with using oil for extra glide but it is not required. 

Another excellent technique ive developed is sharpening with a slurry. Once splashed with water you can slurry these stones with a diamond plate to release a very pure and fast polishing gemstone abrasive. This is a technique is commonly used on softer natural whetstones like Belgian stones, Slate from around the world, Japanese stones ECT. Because jasper is denser and harder than all of those stones, it wont shed grit while you sharpen, so having a diamond plate really lets you use the stone to its fullest capabilities.

 

If you just want to sharpen dry or with water that is fine too, and this makes jasper very easy to use. Also jasper has such a tough binder than it cannot be gouged when you are sharpening, this will keep the geometry of your edge perfect. 

Because jasper and jade are so dense, you can use the diamond plate slurry technique tens of thousands of times and not wear away your stone much at all.

This trick is especially useful when working on creating a very refined or mirror polished edge. After setting the initial bevel, going to a fine stone and slurrying it allows you to quickly wipe away the coarse scratch pattern and refine your edge to a very sharp finish. We estimate the ball park is as fine as 20,000- 30,000 grit or .5 microns because that is when a mirror edge develops. As stated above, Jasper and jade can also sharpen at a much lower grit, like 1000 or less when textured rough. By prepping jasper / jade with a lower grit surface prep like 220 grit or less, the corresponding effect is that much more grit is available and the stone becomes capable of sharpening fast and gritty, or fine and smooth. If you'd like your stone prepared like this please just leave a note in your order. 


Next, lets cover Arkansas stones. These have been around since the beginning of the 19th century, mined from the Ouachitas Mountains— western Arkansas. The term “Novaculite” is a Latin word that means “Razor Stone”. The unique part is that you need to use oil to get the smoothest feel from these rocks. Arkansas stones typically come in 3 different grades of density, soft medium and hard. For comparison, jasper is slightly denser or the same density as the hard Arkansas stones. Soft and medium hard Arkasnas stones wear out, where as the hard Ark's tend to be a lot longer lasting. I prefer jasper for sharpening these days because is too messy for my preference using oil stones. Interestingly if you are a fan of oil stone honing, jasper does respond very to honing with oil as well as dry or wet/slurried. If you oil a stone and then later decide you want to switch back to water you can use Fume Free Easy off, or give it a hot soapy bath and then heat it to drive the oil out.


Man Made Synthetic Whetstones
These stones are the most widely used and consumed type of stone on the market.

I started my sharpening journey using whole sets of these, until I found that harder natural stones like jasper could last ten times as long and also polish a lot finer, without ever dishing out or crumbling from too much soaking in water.

Man made stones consist of a bonding agent that holds its particles together, but that is softer than steel so that new grit is constantly exposed. These stones are soft because of this which makes them highly abrasive at first, but then they need to be flattened constantly. So before sharpening your tools, you must flatten these stones and apply some lubrication to moisten / slick the surface. That is why they are known as water stones commonly or whetstones. These stones have many different formulations, some need to be soaked with water all the time, others will crumble if soaked with water for too long.


Diamond Sharpening Stones
This material is becoming the very popular, especially for the professional sharpener. Diamond whetstones are the hardest mineral we know of, diamond stones are popular with chefs as well because they don't need to be flattened and can be a coarse stone for sharpening. They are obtained both in interrupted surfaced and solid continuously plated varieties. They require very minimal maintenance and remove steel pretty quickly. But take caution when purchasing “cheap” diamond sharpening stones because some are poorly plated and shed grit.

I tend to favor the DMT 325 grit plate, also known as D8C, when this diamond plate is new it can be used as a coarse whetstone as well as a way to re-profile damaged knives.  I find that I can cover all of my sharpening needs for Coarse work with a 325 grit diamond plate. The interesting thing about diamonds is because they scratch deeply, they are best off used for coarser sharpening tasks, as they leave a toothy scratch pattern which doesn't polish as well for finer grit work. I use a 325 grit diamond plate to do rough sharpening, and then I often slurry my jasper stones with it next and go to mid range and finishing work on a jasper stone. Owning a diamond plate lets you flatten sharpening stones that are softer with ease, and it lets you perfectly match your slurry to the base stone you are using which can increase the cutting speed and free hard stones of the clogged up metal in their pores.